In The State of 4G Pricing, Finnish researchers Rewheel identify the US as having some of the most expensive wireless data (fifth highest prices) in the world, and they predict things will get worse thanks to looming mergers in the already super-concentrated wireless sector.
Meanwhile, a monopoly over business data connectivity generally keeps consumer mobile prices high. According to the FCC's own data, 73 percent of the special access market (which feeds everything from ATMs to cellular towers) is controlled by one ISP. This varies depending on the market, but it’s usually AT&T, Verizon, or CenturyLink.
These high prices to connect to cellular towers then impact pricing for the end user and smaller competitors, those same competitors and consumer groups have long argued.
These critics have also argued that Ajit Pai’s FCC recently made these problems worse by lifting price caps on this uncompetitive sector, something he justified by literally weakening the very definition of competition. Monopolies nobody wants to fix and regulators beholden to an industry they’re supposed to hold accountable go a long way toward explaining the US ranking.
All told, the study found that US mobile data pricing was four times more expensive than prices in many four-competitor European Union countries, and sixteen times more expensive than large, competitive four-competitor European markets.
The State of 4G Pricing [Rewheel]
US Wireless Data Prices Are Among the Most Expensive on Earth [Karl Bode/Motherboard]